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1 June 2009 Skull Foramina Asymmetry in East Greenland and Svalbard Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in Relation to Stressful Environments
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Abstract

Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of foramina as a measure of environmental stress was studied in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) skulls from East Greenland (n = 300, collected 1892–2004) and Svalbard (n = 388, collected 1950–2004). Levels of FA for each of the 11 traits used in the study were compared between sex/age groups (subadults, adult females, adult males), localities (East Greenland, Svalbard), and periods (≤ 1960 [prepollution] and > 1960, [pollution]) using general linear models (GLMs). The GLMs revealed that adult males had higher FA in two traits than other sex/age groups. Also, the Svalbard bears had higher FA in number of intracondylar foramina than had those from East Greenland, a trend corresponding well with skull differences found previously between the two subpopulations. No correlation was found between the bears' year of birth (n = 468) and FA or between levels of contaminants and FA (n = 65).

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2009
Thea Ø. Bechshøft, Frank F. Rigét, Christian Sonne, Øystein Wiig, Rune Dietz, and Robert J. Letcher "Skull Foramina Asymmetry in East Greenland and Svalbard Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in Relation to Stressful Environments," Annales Zoologici Fennici 46(3), 181-192, (1 June 2009). https://doi.org/10.5735/086.046.0303
Received: 14 December 2007; Accepted: 21 March 2008; Published: 1 June 2009
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